1st 60 today, 70 Saturday! Double crest, drought develops south

Lots to talk about today…here are a few headlines:

-First 60 degree reading of 2011 likely today in the metro

-Twins opener: Sunny & 60s?

-First 70 quite possible Saturday!

-Showers & T-Storms possible Sunday.

-Severe outbreak south??

-“2nd crest” for southern Minnesota rivers this weekend

-Minnehaha Creek at highest level in nearly 5 years!

-Red River headed for 3rd highest flood of record by Sunday?

-Developing drought in Iowa & Midwest

-“Green wave” reaches Kansas City, moving north

-Green shoots at weather lab

Now for some detail…

First 60 of 2011 today in the metro:

Where were you on November 10th?

That’s the last time the mercury topped 60 degrees in the metro!

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November 2010 featured a quick transition from late season warmth to sustained winter. (Click all images to enlarge)

It looks like we’ll finally get there again today, making this the warmest day in nearly 5 months. Look for a few bank thermometers to flash as high as 64 degrees in the metro and much of southern Minnesota this afternoon.

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Twins home opener: Sunny & 60s?

It appears the “weather lucky” Twins have won the opening day weather lottery at Target Field for the second straight year. A potential weather system is steering south Friday, and the result should favor sunshine and afternoon temps in the low 60s. First pitch 3:10pm Friday.

Play ball!

70 by Saturday?

As a deep low pressure trof spins up in the west, a southerly flow of mild air will persist and intensify through Saturday. The result should be the first 70 balmy degree temps of 2011 Saturday afternoon.

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Sunday rain & thunder?

The western low will move east by Sunday into the Upper Midwest. It’s early, but it looks like a band of showers and possible T-Storms will develop Sunday with the system. We could see a decent shot of rain (and possibly some thunder) in much of Minnesota Sunday, especially late.

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Modles suggesting soaking rains possible Sunday.

Weekend severe outbreak south?

Further south, the atmosphere seems primed for a potential severe outbreak Saturday and especially Sunday.

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Here’s the verbage from SPC

…DAY 4 /SUN APR 10/…

THE POTENTIAL FOR A REGIONAL SEVERE THREAT EXTENDING FROM NRN LA TO IA AND EWD THROUGH THE TN/OH VALLEYS AND PART OF THE WRN GREAT LAKES FROM SUNDAY AFTERNOON THROUGH SUNDAY NIGHT/EARLY MONDAY MORNING REMAINS VERY LIKELY. CONFIDENCE REMAINS HIGH FOR THIS SEVERE WEATHER EVENT WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR DAMAGING WINDS AND TORNADOES AS STRONG HEIGHT FALLS SPREAD ACROSS THE DAY 4 OUTLOOK AREA…ESPECIALLY DURING THE LATTER HALF OF THE FORECAST PERIOD.

-“2nd crest” for rivers this weekend:

The much talked about “2nd crest” appears headed for southern Minnesota rivers this weekend. The crest forecasts are lower than anticipated a few days ago, and many rivers look to crest near or below the first crest observed in late March.

The Crow River @ Delano is forecast to crest at 19′ this weekend. That’s about 1 foot below the crest of 20′ on 3/28/2011, which was the 4th highest flood of record for the Crow @ Delano.

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The Mississippi River @ St. Paul is forecast to crest at 19.2′ Monday. That’s just above the 19.01′ level recorded on 3/29/2011 which was the 8th highest flood of record @ St. Paul.

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The flood story of 2011 will be remembered for the “double crest.” The fact that rivers spread the runoff from near record winter snows over two crests two weeks apart may have saved many communities form record floods this year.

The cold snap in late March and early April, and lighter than average precipitation was indeed the “best case scenario” for mitigating flood levels in southern Minnesota rivers in the “Floods of 2011.”

Red River: Not so lucky?

A higher, single crest appears likely on the Red River this year. The Red is rising steadily these days, and the latest forecast brings the river to 39.5′ @ Fargo Sunday.

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If the Red reaches 39.5′ it will be the 3rd highest flood of record for the Red @ Fargo, behind only 2009 (40.84′) and 1997 (39.72′).

-Minnehaha Creek: Fastest flow in nearly 5 years!

I took a look at Minnehaha Creek Wednesday and saw it running swiftly through Minnetonka Mills. A further check of data from the Minnehaha Creek Watershed District (MCWD) shows the discharge from the Gray’s Bay Dam is running at 250 CFS. That’s the highest level since June 8, 2006, or nearly 5 years!

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MCWD says flows above 150 CFS are “dangerous” for canoeing down Minnehaha Creek. 250 CFS has made Minnehaha Creek a raging little river! It’s worth checking out if you can as it flows through the southwest metro communities into Minneapolis. A trip to Minnehaha Falls may make for some magnificent viewing in the next few days!

-Developing Midwest Drought:

The Weather Lab took a few days off and moved south last weekend. In my drive to Lawrence Kansas, I was surprised to see the rapid transition from rivers in flood in Minnesota to very low rivers levels with sand bars in Iowa.

Smoke filled the air Saturday as I observed numerous grass fires from southern Minnesota all the way into Missouri and Kansas.

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Smoke filled skies and grass fires in Iowa & Missouri Saturday.

The latest drought monitor shows a growing drought threat in much of the Southern Plains, expanding into the Midwest.

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Midwest drought can be common in La Nina years, and it’s a developing trend we’ll have to watch as we move toward summer.

-“Green Wave” reaches Kansas City:

I’ll have more on this in coming days, but I wanted to mention that I observed the green wave heading north! Phenologists refer to the leading edge of the springtime green up as the so called “green wave” as it moves north each spring.

Grass is green, and leaves are bursting out on trees near and north of Kansas City now and the “wave” is moving north.

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Flowering trees on the KU Campus in Lawrence, Kansas Monday.

I have heard that the green wave moves north at anywhere from 12 to 16 miles per day on average. It won’t be long with temps in the 60s and 70s until we see trees and shrubs begin to burst out in southern Minnesota!

-Green “shoots” at Weather Lab:

The weather lab slopes north so we are usually late bloomers here. But I did observe tulips and daffodil shoots coming up today. A sure sign of spring at the Weather Lab, and a sure sign of hope for us all after a real Minnesota Winter!

Enjoy the warm up!

PH

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